What is a heel spur?
This is a calcium deposit capable of causing a bony protrusion on the lower side of your heel bone. On an X-ray film, a heel spur may extend forward by about half-inch. It can be termed as "heel spur syndrome without a visible X-ray evidence. The condition can be either painless or painful depending on the stage of its development.
What are the causes of Heel Spurs?
There can be sevral reasons for this syndrome, runnig is one of the most common causes. Severe strains on the foot ligaments and muscles can cause heel spurs by stretching of the plantar fascia, to tear its membrane repeatedly. This medical condition is a common problem among athletes whose most frequent activities are jumping or running.
Other main risk factors include: · Walking gait abnormalities that place excessive stress on the ligaments, heel bone, and sensitive nerves near the heel. · Running or jogging on hard surfaces. · Badly worn or Poorly fitted shoes, especially those with no arch support. · Excess weight or obesity. · Old age after a decreased plantar fascia flexibility. · Diabetes. · Frequent short physical activity bursts. · Having either high arches or flat feet.
What are the Symptoms of Heel Spurs?
A Heel spur has no symptoms. However, it can be associated with chronic pain when walking, running or jogging. You should ensure that you seek medical help when you notice chronic heel pain.
What are the treatment options available?
In The Netherlands, there are a lot of specialized centers for treating heel pain. The most important question in these settings is not about the cause, but what can be done when having severe pain (as the Dutch would "wat te doen aan hielspoor bij hevige pijn?"). Treatments for heel spurs or associated conditions often include anti-inflammatory medications, custom-made orthotics, cortisone injections and shockwave therapy. If conservative treatments fail, surgery may be necessary. Other conservative treatments may include: · Physical therapy. · Stretching exercises. · Shoe recommendations. · Strapping or taping to rest stressed tendons and muscles. · Shoe inserts.
Heel pain can respond to many treatment options with over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Advil). However, you need to make sure you visit a medical doctor for advice before using these medications.
Surgery for Heel Spurs
Surgery is always the last option when the nonsurgical treatments do not work. A surgery is always done to relieve pain at the same time restore mobility. The Surgical techniques available are: · Release of plantar fascia to get rid of some tension. · Removal of a spur. This means removing the calcium depot. However, surgery also comes with side effects. The possible heel surgery complications include nerve pain, permanent numbness, recurrent heel pain, infection, and even scarring. When you opt for plantar fascia release, there is risk of foot cramps, instability, tendinitis and stress fracture.
How do you prevent the condition?
Prevent the risk factors e.g. wear well fitting shoes with rigid shanks, shock-absorbent soles, and supportive heel counters. You should choose appropriate shoes when exercising and weight loss.
The information above should help you understand what a heel spur is and what can be done about it. Always try to find a good conservative treatment option, before consedring an operation.
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